As I write this morning I am admiring from my veranda the "Easter butterflies" flitting about, seemingly with great energy and happiness. Perhaps they are delighting in their "resurrected bodies", so different from the bodies they possessed formerly and with such vastly different abilities of movement. They are a wonderful enacted parable of the "Resurrection from the dead" to which we ourselves look forward, and of which Christ Himself shows forth the mighty firstfruits. Even if our garden as a whole shows many trees but a dirth of blossoms or even living leaves because of the drought of the past months, our young mango tree that has been barren for the last ten years has mysteriously chosen this year to put out blossoms and even, at this stage, a fair first crop of young mangoes.
From reflection upon such circumstances we may learn that the Lord chooses often to show His own unmatchable glories in the midst of conditions we would never choose, just as indeed the accounts of His holy Nativity and His being being "lifted up" for our redemption so inimitably illustrate.
May this apparently dark time in our common life be such a time for the Lord to show His own unmatchable glory? Indeed, may it be for this exact purpose? I believe so. It is a time for Christians to reflect on what is the real truth about the many things that we have pretended do not matter - our whole "social model", for which we have preferred too often to follow the herd instincts of modern secular society rather than seeking guidance from the sources that have fed the people of faith down the centuries to the present time. How can it conceivably be "normal", to take one basic example, for anyone to dispose of new human life in the womb as if there were never any basic and absolute responsibility for us to love and nurture this example of our own humanity? To do such a thing demonstrates a society at ease with its own destruction.
Yet in the midst of a civilisation forged by Christian values, we see an accommodation especially in the north and the east to such gross destruction of our very humanity elevated to being called an "essential service", with precious little objection to it from anybody!
We choose to forget what the Lord Jesus Himself said about those causing hurt to one of His "little ones". Be assured, He has not forgotten.
So let us return to the thought of the butterflies and the first-fruits of the ten-year-old mango tree. There is a time for the long-delayed change in our thinking and in our social model to be made. That time is now. Dig deep into the roots of our faith and our civilisation and we will find, even in the midst of pandemic and lockdown, the God-given energy and the heart to make this change, for our own sakes as well as for our world.
Bishop Nicholas Sykes
27 Jan, 2020
15 Sep, 2021
15 Sep, 2021
15 Sep, 2021